No, Really, There Is No Finish Line

So, yeah, I’ve been feeling pretty demoralized recently. There’ve been a lot of things going on in my life, some of it good and all of it important, and my focus has been scattered and disorganized. And, as I always seem to do, I’ve ended up focusing on all of the things I haven’t accomplished, instead of in the things I have accomplished. It’s an easy trap to fall into, and I fall into it a lot. No, more than that.

Which is why my wise and amazing wife reposted a blog post I wrote two years ago, titled No Finish Line. To remind me that I’m on a journey, not heading towards a destination. And to do it in a way that I couldn’t argue with (as I frequently do when I’m down on myself), because I wrote the thing.

She knows me well, she does.

You can click that link up there and read the whole entry, but one paragraph really jumped out at me:

Generally speaking, I try not to think of the “end game” of all the work I’m doing. I stay focused on the here and now. On walking today. On hitting my calorie goal today. On exercising today. Do that enough times, I figure, and the goal will take care of itself. But I do think about the end. About hitting my goal. And when I do, there’s a temptation to think I’ll be done. That this will be over. That I’ll have won.

I go on to explain how that isn’t true, but there’s another aspect to that attitude that I hadn’t really considered. I do think about the end. About hitting my goal. And when I do, if I haven’t been making progress – even if I’ve been maintaining – there’s a temptation to think that I’ve lost. That I lost, and that I may as well quit because the game is over.

So, there I am. Declaring that I’ve lost a race that isn’t actually a race. Honestly, “changing my life” isn’t a game I can win. I can’t really ever say “my life is now changed, so now I can stop”. My goals – my exercise, my walking, my calorie budget – are all healthy habits to develop. They aren’t scorecard items that I have to check off to win.

So much of this journey is about reframing the way I think. About making changes to be the person I want to be. None of it is things I have to do to not be a failure.

I need to remember that.

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